Tag: community (page 1 of 4)

Slack emboldens the meek

This is a useful article which focuses on the lack of internal Codes of Conduct and community managers within organisations. Performativity in the workplace is a thing, and workplace chat tools can escalate those types of behaviours into new levels of toxicity.

People act differently online, and tools like Slack, while not expressly built to hook users, still make work feel like social media. Emoji reactions and replies provide the same validation as likes and retweets. “I don’t post online anymore because I don’t like being so public, but if I have something fun going on in my life, I will put that into Slack,” said Rebecca Levin, a Program Manager at research startup Maze. And as Ellen Cushing noted in the Atlantic, like Twitter and Reddit, discussions in Slack feel “categorically different, somehow less real.”

Online, everyone is engaged in a digitally-mediated performance. As Erving Goffman wrote, “We are all just actors trying to control and manage our public image.” And the pressure to maintain that image can quickly turn reasonable people into pundits. When news breaks, “there’s this feeling that if I don’t post about it on Twitter, I’m complicit,” said Charlie Warzel, co-author of Out of Office: The Big Problem and Bigger Promise of Working from Home. “You end up weighing in as if you’re some sort of public figure, despite the fact that you’re not.”

Slack emboldens the meek; compared to an all-hands, the ease of posting makes speaking up a lot easier. Anne Helen Petersen, Warzel’s partner and co-author, has found herself in that position, and sees it as a mixed blessing. The freedom is powerful, she said, “but it also opens a portal. It’s just more discourse, right?”


Leaders often treat Slack as just another tool. But as Godwin’s Law wryly observed, any extended online discussion is a Hitler comparison waiting to happen. “You’re creating a public room where people are empowered to talk back,” said Marketos. “If something starts to blow up in Slack, you need to have an amazing response that’s defensible if it’s screenshotted and shared with a reporter.” While few HR teams are experienced in rapid-response crisis communications, for community managers, “it comes naturally, and it’s very much an unsung part of their skillset.”

Source: The Extremely Online Workplace | by Benjamin Jackson

Challenging capitalism through co-ops and community

The glossy Instagram lifestyle is actually led by a fraction of a fraction of 1% of the world’s population. Instead of us all elbowing each other out of the way in pursuit of that, this article points to a better solution: co-operation.

There are two types of economics active in the world right now — which basically means two radically divergent varieties of economic life. The first is economics as most economists and writers see it and talk about it. The second is economics as most people live it.

Call the first “the top-up.” It’s the economics of competition and asymmetrical knowledge and shareholder value and creative destruction. It’s the dominant system. We know all about the top-up. Tales of the doings of the top-up economy are mainlined into our brains from business articles, financial analysis, stories about our planet’s richest people or corporations or nations. Bezos. Buffett. Gates. Musk. Zuckerberg. The Forbes 400. The Fortune 500. The Nasdaq. The Nikkei. On and on.

Call the second “the bottom-down.” We don’t hear as much about it because it’s a lot less sexy and a lot more sticky. It involves survival mechanisms and community solidarity and cash-in-hand calculations.

But it’s the economic system of the global majority, and this makes it the more important of the two.


The top-up economic sphere functions like a gated community in which people who have money can pretend that everything they do and have in life is based on merit, and that the communal and cooperative boosts from which they profit are nothing but natural outgrowths of that merit.


Change always comes from below — and it is in the bottom-down relationships where growth and egalitarianism can flourish. Every volunteer fire department is a community platform. Every mutually managed water system demonstrates that neighbors can build things when they need each other. Every community-based childcare network or parent-teacher association is a nascent collective. Every civic association, neighborhood or church council, social action network or food pantry gives people a broader perspective. Every collectively run savings and credit association demonstrates that communal trust can give people a leg up.

Source: Co-ops And Community Challenge Capitalism | Noema

Kith and kin

This is a great article about how the internet was going to save us from TV and now we’re looking for something to save us from the internet. What we actually need are stronger and deeper relationships with the people around us — our kith and kin.

We are conditioned to care about kin, to take life’s meaning from the relationships with those we know and love. But the psychological experience of fame, like a virus invading a cell, takes all of the mechanisms for human relations and puts them to work seeking more fame. In fact, this fundamental paradox—the pursuit through fame of a thing that fame cannot provide—is more or less the story of Donald Trump’s life: wanting recognition, instead getting attention, and then becoming addicted to attention itself, because he can’t quite understand the difference, even though deep in his psyche there’s a howling vortex that fame can never fill.

This is why famous people as a rule are obsessed with what people say about them and stew and rage and rant about it. I can tell you that a thousand kind words from strangers will bounce off you, while a single harsh criticism will linger. And, if you pay attention, you’ll find all kinds of people—but particularly, quite often, famous people—having public fits on social media, at any time of the day or night. You might find Kevin Durant, one of the greatest basketball players on the planet, possibly in the history of the game—a multimillionaire who is better at the thing he does than almost any other person will ever be at anything—in the D.M.s of some twenty something fan who’s talking trash about his free-agency decisions. Not just once—routinely! And he’s not the only one at all.

There’s no reason, really, for anyone to care about the inner turmoil of the famous. But I’ve come to believe that, in the Internet age, the psychologically destabilizing experience of fame is coming for everyone. Everyone is losing their minds online because the combination of mass fame and mass surveillance increasingly channels our most basic impulses—toward loving and being loved, caring for and being cared for, getting the people we know to laugh at our jokes—into the project of impressing strangers, a project that cannot, by definition, sate our desires but feels close enough to real human connection that we cannot but pursue it in ever more compulsive ways.

Source: On the Internet, We’re Always Famous | The New Yorker